Things that belong together: chocolate + peanut butter, pretzels + beer, french fries + ketchup. Windows + Mac? They can go together, but don’t necessarily belong together. Personally, I never use Windows (though I know a lot of modern technologically-driven systems such as POS systems, gas pumps, airline reservation software, etc. run Windows software behind the scenes).

So, while I’ve not used Windows since 1999 (partly since I conveniently work at an Apple Specialist), I know how important access to Windows is for over 90% of the computer-using world. I was excited for these people when Apple announced its switch to Intel processors, thus allowing Windows to be easily run on Intel-based Macs. After all, many tens of thousands of people wanted to switch to the Mac, but simply couldn’t give up certain Windows-only programs, nor could many people simply walk away from their investment in pricey Windows software titles.

Bootcamp, Parallels, and VMware’s Fusion are the most popular ways to install and run Windows on a Mac. Bootcamp is a bit different than Parallels and VMWare – it actually allows a Mac to boot into Windows XP or Windows Vista, while the other two programs create a “virtual machine” on your Mac, so you can run Windows apps side-by-side with your Mac apps without rebooting. Bootcamp is also a free program, available for download directly from Apple. Bootcamp will be built into Leopard, Apple’s next generation operating system due in October.

Small Dog Electronics has happily been on the Parallels bandwagon since last summer. VMWare sounds like a great solution as well, but we simply have more experience with Parallels, Parallels has received excellent reviews, a few Small Doggers actually use it at home, and we’ve been quite impressed with Parallels rapid upgrading schedule. Parallels 3.0 was recently released, featuring some incredible new features:

  • Improved Parallels Transporter – Migrate your entire PC, including OS, settings, applications, and files, to your new Mac. Transfer via any network or firewire connection! This is great for Switchers.
  • 3D Graphics – OpenGL and DirectX support means you can play your favorite Windows-only games and use video and sound editing software on your virtual machine.
  • New: SmartSelect – Open Windows files with Mac applications and Mac files with Windows applications. Set ‘on the fly’ or as the default.
  • NEW! Snapshots – Save the state of your virtual machine’s memory, settings, and hard disk in just one click. Revert back to the snapshot at any time. Make changes, try beta software, and explore the Internet, without risking permanent damage to
    your virtual machine.

  • NEW – Parallels Explorer – Browse your Windows files, without starting your virtual machine or launching Windows.
  • NEW – Security Settings – Select the level of integration between Windows and Mac OS X.
  • Improved Coherence – Launch and run Windows applications directly from your Mac desktop.
  • Improved Shared Folders – Shared Folders automatically mounts the Windows virtual hard drive on the OS X desktop, letting you drag-and-drop between Windows and OS X, without moving to the Windows desktop. Add/remove/configure shared folders ‘on the fly.’
  • Improved USB 2.0 Support – Plug and play your favorite Windows-only USB 2.0 devices, including BlackBerries, PDAs, cameras, and SmartPhones.
  • Improved Boot Camp Support – Use a Windows XP or Vista partition set up via Apple’s Boot Camp
    as a virtual hard drive in your Parallels virtual machine. No need for separate installations of Windows for Boot Camp and your Parallels VM!

  • Guest Operating Systems supported (but not included) Microsoft Windows – 3.1, 3.11, 95, 98, NT, 2000, XP, 2003, and Vista
  • Linux Distributions – SUSE, Red Hat, Debian, Fedora Core, Mandriva, FreeBSD, OS/2, eComStation, Solaris, MS-DOS, OPENSTEP, and OpenBSD 3.8 and more.

All this for only $69.99 – that’s Small Dog’s price, which is $10 less than most other resellers. Note that when you buy Parallels or VMware, or download Bootcamp, you still have to purchase and install some version of Windows. Many people already own a copy of Windows, that they may have purchased with a PC. The cheapest way to get a legitiamete copy of Windows is to buy an OEM version with purchase of a new Mac.

You can see all the versions of Windows we sell, along with Parallels 3.0 by clicking here.

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